At the annual dinner meeting each year, the Newton Conservators gives the Environmentalist of the Year Award to the individual or group that has made the greatest contribution to the protection of Newton’s environment. This award was first presented in 1981.
2023 Marcia Cooper, President, Green Newton, for her enthusiasm and devotion to a sustainable world for future generations, thoughtfully inspiring Newton students to join and lead local environmental actions, and consistently building Green Newton as a widely trusted source for guidance to green the home and fight the climate crisis.
2022 Ted Chapman, for his energetic and productive advocacy for open space, including improved pedestrian and bicycle connections both within Newton and between Newton and its neighbors, securing the Newton Community Farm for the City, and creating the Riverside Greenway connection plan.
2020-2021 Webster Woods Team consisting of Rory Altman, Councilor Lisle Baker, Peter Barrer, Suzanne Berne, Dan Brody, Kathy Cade, Suzanne Carleo, Mayor Ruthanne Fuller, Alissa Giuliani, Jeff Goldman, Barney Heath, Ken Kimmel, Rebecca Mayne, Eric Olson, Richard Primack, Steve Small, Jennifer Steel, Beth Wilkinson, Jonathan Yeo, and Ouida Young. The City, led by the Webster Woods team, saved the Woods in perpetuity in December 2019 through a combination of political skill, legal expertise, financial and land-use analysis, the ability to communicate scientific knowledge in a clear and engaging way, and plain hard work by many.
2019 Eric Olson for his devotion to the environment, the City of Newton, and the Newton Conservators. For all his work to further the science of ecology and his belief that education will help to save the environment. For his continued insistence that our actions be guided by best practices and sound science. For his tireless work to encourage the growth of native plants and the creatures they support.
2018 André Wilson for tireless efforts to create a green corridor at 15 Bracebridge Road and the connected Wilson Conservation Area. For removing invasive plants and replacing them with wildlife-friendly native plants.
2017 Jim Lerner, Jerry Reilly, and George Kirby for their creativity and persistence in transforming an unused rail bed from an eyesore into the Upper Falls Greenway, a green path to be enjoyed by the community.
2015 Alison Leary for her years as a dedicated educator and advocate for environmental issues and for her successful leadership of the 2015 campaign to ban thin plastic bags in Newton.
2014 two awards:
Peter Kastner for his more than thirty years of vigilance, tireless service, and advocacy protecting Newton’s environment, leading the Conservators, and representing us on the Parks and Recreation Commission.
Walter Bernheimer for being one of the strongest advocates of open space on the Parks and Recreation Commission, and saving natural areas in Newton from development.
2013 Jane E. Sender for four years as Conservators’ President and her work on the Conservation Commission
2012 Charles River Watershed Association (Executive Director Bob Zimmerman and Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel Margaret Van Deusen) who have brought CRWA to the national forefront of urban river restoration.
2011 Newton Conservators Trail Guide Committee (Lucy Caldwell-Stair, Patricia Robinson, Judy Hepburn, and Dan Brody) for their hard work creating the revised edition of Newton Conservators guidebook, Walking Trails in Newton’s Park & Conservation Lands.
2010 Newton Conservators Almanac Committee (Sue J. Avery, Dr. Modestino “Cris” Criscitiello, Laura Eisener, Don Lubin, Patricia Robinson, and Beth E. Schroeder)for their hard work creating and publishing the beautiful Newton Conservators’ Almanac.
2008 Ted Kuklinski, Harvey Epstein, and Bill Shaevel for their activities with three major happenings in the City: (1) preservation of additional open space at Dolan Pond, (2) preservation of a historical house, and (3) the first Habitat for Humanity buildings in Newton.
2007 Dan Brody for his vision, skill, and dedication in building and maintaining the Newton Conservators’ web site.
2003 Martha Aherin Horn for protecting and enhancing Newton’s conservation areas
2000 Marty Sender for advocacy and labor in cleaning up the Lakes District of the Charles River and for work on open space issues throughout the city.
1998 Dan Driscoll for work in making the Charles River Pathway a reality
1997 Dianne Dumanoski for raising awareness about pesticide risks in her book, “Our Stolen Future”
1996 William Gillitt, Elaine Gentile, and Jean Husher (Commonwealth Avenue Task Force) for a successful design for the renovation of Commonwealth Avenue as a linear park
1995 Sen. Lois Pines for leadership in environmental issues in the Legislature
1994 Bill Leitch and Betsy Leitch for leadership in the restoration of Bullough’s Pond
1993 two awards:
AnnaMaria Abernathy for land use activism
Theresa O’Halloran for work on Washington Street Park and a summer boat ride on the Charles River as a model of transportation without cars
1992 Thelma Fleishman for voicing open space values on the Conservation Commission
1991 Leo Levi for beautifying Newton through education, trees, and flower bulbs
1990 two awards:
Barbara Herson for her work on recycling programs and Earth Day activities
Carol Morrison for her long work toward the development of Nahanton Park
1989 Richard Staley for creating and directing the Environmental Science Program
1988 Anita Capeless for work over many years to ensure sensible land use in Newton
1987 William Geizentanner for his design of the Charles River Pathway
1986 Sarah Barnett, Anne Dinsmore, Sharon Francis, Deborah Howard, Joan Lerner, and Ann Roesner for producing Newton’s first Open Space Plan in 1973-74
1984 Helen Heyn for “unstinting efforts” to acquire and protect Newton’s open space legacy
1983 (no award)
1982 Newton Commonwealth Improvement Corporation and Lisle Baker for their work in preserving the Newton Commonwealth Golf Course
1981 Betsy Lewenberg for outstanding work in promoting the Newton recycling program